*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 14 - MIND OVER MATTER
He could drive well, when he kept the speed reasonable, I had to admit. Like so many things, it seemed to be effortless to him. He barely looked at the road, yet the tires never deviated so much as a centimeter from the center of the lane. He drove one-handed, holding my hand on the seat. Sometimes he gazed into the setting sun, sometimes he glanced at me - my face, my hair blowing out the open window, our hands twined together.
He turned the radio to an oldies station, and he sang along with a song I'd never heard. He knew every line.
"You like fifties music?" I asked.
"Music in the fifties was good. Much better than the sixties, au the seventies, ugh!" He shuddered. "The eighties were bearable."
"Are wewe ever going to tell me how old wewe are?" I asked, tentative, not wanting to upset his buoyant humor.
"Does is matter much?" His smiled, to my relief, remained unclouded.
"No, but I still wonder..." I grimaced. "There's nothing like an unsolved mystery to keep wewe up at night."
"I wonder if it will upset you," he reflected to himself. He gazed into the sun; the dakika passed.
"Try me," I finally said.
He sighed, and then looked into my eyes, seeming to forget the road completely for a time. Whatever he saw there must had encouraged him. He looked into the sun - the light of the setting orb - glittered off his skin in ruby-tinged sparkles - and spoke.
"I was born in Chicago in 1901." He paused and glanced at me from the corner of his eyes. My face was carefully unsurprised, patient for the rest. He smiled a tiny smile and continued. "Carlisle found me in a hospital in the summer of 1918. I was seventeen, and dying of the Spanish influenza."
He heard my intake of breath, though it was barely audible to my own ears. He looked down into my eyes again.
"I don't remember it well - it was a very long time ago, and human memories fade." He was Lost in his thoughts for a short time before he went on. "I do remember how it felt, when Carlisle saved me. It's not an easy thing, not something wewe could forget."
"They had already died from the disease. I was alone. That was why he chose me. In all the chaos of the epidemic, no one would ever realize I was gone."
"How did he... save you?"
A few sekunde passed before he answered. He seemed to choose his words carefully.
"It was difficult. Not many of us have the restraint necessary to accomplish it. But Carlisle has always been the most humane, the most compassionate of us.... I don't think wewe could find his equal throughout all of history." He paused. "For me, it was merely very, very painful."
I could tell from the set of his lips, he would say no zaidi on the subject. I suppressed my curiosity, though it was far from idle. There were many things I needed to think through on this particular issue, things that were only beginning to occur to me. No doubt his quick mind had already comprehended every aspect that eluded me.
His soft voice interrupted my thoughts. "He acted from loneliness. That's usually the reason behind the choice. I was the first in Carlisle's family, though he found Esme soon after. She fell from a cliff. They brought her straight to the hospital morgue, though, somehow, her moyo was still beating."
"So wewe must be dying, then, to become..." We never alisema the word, and I couldn't frame it now.
"No, that's just Carlisle. He would never do that to someone who had another choice." The respect in his voice was profound whenever he spoke of his father figure. "It is easier he says, though," he continued, "if the blood is weak." He looked at the now-dark road, and I could feel the subject closing again.
"And Emmett and Rosalie?"
"Carlisle brought Rosalie to our family next. I didn't realize till much later that he was hoping she would be to me what Esme was to him - he was careful with his thoughts around me." He rolled his eyes. "But she was never zaidi than a sister. It was only two years later that she found Emmett. She was hunting - we were in Appalachia at the time - and found a kubeba about to finish him off. She carried him back to Carlisle, zaidi than a hundred miles, afraid she wouldn't be able to do it herself/ I'm only beginning to guess how difficult that journey was for her." He threw a pointed glance in my direction, and raised our hands, still folded together, to brush my cheek with the back of his hand.
"But she made it," I encouraged, looking away from the unbearable beauty of his eyes.
"Yes," he murmured. "She saw something in his face that made her strong enough. And they've been together ever since. Sometimes they live apart from us, as a married couple. But the younger we pretend to be, the longer we can stay in any aliyopewa place. forks seemed perfect, so we all enrolled in high school." He laughed. "I suppose we'll have to go to their wedding in a few years, again."
"Alice and Jasper?"
"Alice and Jasper are two very rare creatures. They both developed a conscience, as we refer to it, with no outside guidance. Jasper belonged to another... family, a very different kind of family. He became depressed, and he wandered on his own. Alice found him. Like me, she has certain gifts above and beyond the norm of our kind."
"Really?" I interrupted, fascinated. "But wewe alisema wewe were the only one who could hear people's thoughts."
"That's true. She knows other things. She sees things - things that might happen, things that are coming. But it's very subjective. The future isn't set in stone. Things change."
His jaw set when he alisema that, and his eyes darted to my face and away so quickly that I wasn't sure if I only imagined it.
"What kinds of things does she see?"
"She saw Jasper and knew that he was looking for her before he knew it himself. She saw Carlisle and our family, and they came together to find us. She's most sensitive to non-humans. She always sees, for example, when another group of our kind is coming near. And any threat they may pose."
"Are there a lot of... your kind?" I was surprised. How many of them could walk among us undetected?
"No, not many. But most won't settle in any one place. Only those like us, who;ve aliyopewa up hunting wewe people" - a sly glance in my direction - "can live together with humans for any length of time, but there were so many of us that we became too noticeable. Those of us who live... differently tend to bacnd together."
"And the others?"
"Nomads, for the most part. We've all lived that way at times. It gets tedious, like anything else. But we run across the others now and again, because most of us prefer the North."
"Why is that?"
We were parked in front of my house now, and he'd turned off the truck. It was very wuiet and dark; there was no moon. The porch light was off so I knew that my father wasn't nyumbani yet.
"Did wewe have your eyes open this afternoon?" he teased. "Do wewe think I could walk down the mitaani, mtaa in the sunlight without causing traffic accidents? There's a reason why we chose the Olympic Peninsula, one of the most sunless places in the world. It's nice to be able to go outside in the day. wewe wouldn't believe how tired wewe can get of nighttime in eighty-odd years."
"So that's where the legends came from?"
"And Alice came from another family, like Jasper?"
"No, and that is a mystery. Alice doesn't remember her human life at all. And she doesn't know who created her. She awoke alone. Whoever made her waked away, and none of us understand why, au how, he could. If she hadn't had that other sense, if she hadn't seen Jasper and Carlisle and known that she would someday become one of us, she probably would have turned into a total savage."
There was so much to think through, so much I still wanted to ask. But, to my great embarrassment, my stomach growled. I'd been so intrigued, I hadn't even noticed I was hungry. I realized now that I was ravenous.
"I'm sorry, I'm keeping wewe from dinner."
"I'm fine, really."
"I've never spent much time around anyone who eats food. I forget."
"I want to stay with you." It was easier to say in the darkness, knowing as I spoke how myy voice would betray me, my hopeless addiction to him.
"Can't I come in?" he asked.
"Would wewe like to?" I couldn't picture it, this godlike creature sitting in my father's shabby jikoni chair.
"Yes, if it's all right." I heard the door close quietly, and almost simultaneously he was outside my door, opening it for me.
"Very human," I complimented him.
"It's definitely resurfacing."
He walked beside me in the night, so quietly I had to peek at him constantly to be sure he was still there. In the darkness he looked much zaidi normal. Still pale, still dreamlike in his beauty, but no longer the fantastic sparkling creature of our sinlit afternoon.